Civil War Weapons

Civil War weapons made fighting the war possible.

The war would not have been much of a fight without the weapons. Weaponry during the war ranged from Civil War muskets to submarines.

Lets look at the most well known piece of weaponry of the war. That would be the long gun used by the ordinary troops on both sides.

Their were two types of long guns used by both sides during the war the first was the Civil War musket which was the main long gun used by both the Rebels and the Yanks at the very beginning of the war.

Unfortunately for the soldiers who had to carry it into combat this Civil War weapon was not very good at all.

Civil War Cannon at Fort Woodbury, Virginia

Civil War Cannon at Fort Woodbury, Virginia

However this piece of Civil War weaponry, more appropriate for the Revolutionary war rather than the Civil War, was at the beginning of the conflict the most readily available long gun that both the Union and Confederacy had in their arsenals at the time.

So simply put they had to use what they had on hand. There were just not enough rifles to go around at that time.

Which brings us to the other long gun. Civil War Rifles were simply rifled muskets. Examples of Civil War rifles include the Sharps RifleSpencer Rifle ,Springfield Model 1861, and the Henry Rifle. Of all of the Civil War weapons the rifled musket was the most widely used weapon of the entire war and in fact more than 90% of the casualties during the war were caused by gunfire, this figure also includes Civil War Pistols

Make sense right? Of course you’ve seen the scene of hundreds or thousands of soldiers on either side all nicely lined up firing into each other until one side decides it’s had enough and runs away.

Those tactics had quite an effect on casualty rates.

Civil War Cannons sure are large and loud but their bark was certainly larger than their bite.

All the American Civil War cannons fire throughout the entire war only inflicted roughly 5% of casualties on both sides. Really it’s true.

They were much better used against fortifications rather than troops.

But the generals loved them and they certainly had a psychological effect on soldiers who had to face them in battle.

The Civil War Bayonet despite what you may have seen in movies was not used in actual fighting very often at all. There were a few famous battles when the bayonet was used such as the 20th Maine attacking and chasing the Confederates down Little Round Top at Gettysburg, but over the entire course of the war the bayonet was used more commonly as a can opener than a weapon.

Now Civil War Swords are of course a recognizable symbol of that war. However with the advent of much more sophisticated and powerful gunpowder weapons the sword was mostly relegated to more of a ceremony weapon for the officers.

Although it was indeed used in combat by officers leading their men. It was the cavalry units that did most of the fighting with them. They used a saber which is a curved sword, good for slashing. Even this however was very limited.

Like the bayonet its use during the war was there. Just not very often.

As you can see Civil War weapons played a most crucial part in the war. Without them the war would have been almost impossible to even fight let alone win.


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